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#1 2011-02-09 14:40:10

JuanTwoThree
Eggcornista
Registered: 2009-08-15
Posts: 324

Following Soot

You’d think this was bad spelling but it’s to be found in otherwise well-spelled contexts:

If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follow soot.

This is not a case of imposing your ideas on others – this is a matter of LIFE and DEATH to thousands of human beings. If humanity has temporarily lost its senses with regards to abortion, why should we follow soot.

Spell-checker? You might expect there to be hits for “soot or number” and there’s only one.

But then again, what are the semantics? Following the sooty footprints?

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#2 2011-02-09 15:29:42

burred
Eggcornista
From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 937

Re: Following Soot

It is quite surprisingly common. It looks like another case where an idiom derived from a game has become obscure and open to reinterpretation. I doubt that the perps have a clear interpretation for ‘following soot’. The only instance I found that made sense was from 1855 (I almost wrote 18ff). It looks like an intentional bon mot, however.

Sketches and burlesques, 1855: The loss of a stovepipe
I fondly hoped to enjoy its society for years but one by one our dearest treasures are snatched from us : the soot fell and the stove pipe has followed soot.

BTW: the acorn is follow suit. See also follow suite and fall suit. You don’t think anyone falls soot, do you? Nah, impossible.

Last edited by burred (2011-02-09 15:36:33)

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